There are going to be quite a lot of changes to the way the Miami Heat play now that their best player has left them, and one of them may be reintroducing Chris Bosh to the paint and playing in the low post after four years of gradually becoming more and more of a perimeter big man when the Heat had possession.
Playing with LeBron James on the team meant Bosh had to change, especially when the Heat finally realized in the 2012 NBA playoffs what works best for them offensively. Bosh turned into a center who doesn’t play inside, while James and Wade attacked the basket, now with a clear path. Bosh turned into something of a stretch five, and last season averaged 2.8 3-point shots per game. Maybe the Heat went to far in that transformation. During the 2012-2013 NBA season Bosh was averaging one 3-point shot per game and 1.6 in the playoffs. He took 3.7 3-point attempts per game last season in the playoffs, hitting 40.5% of them.
Bosh is entering his 12th NBA season, and is going back to a role he played quite often for the Toronto Raptors. With no LeBron James on the team and with Dwyane Wade’s abilities diminishing, it’s probably going to be up to Bosh, who has averaged 16.4 points per game over the last two seasons with Miami, to take an increase in the scoring and rebounding load. The big question might be if he’s actually good enough to make that re-entry into familiar territory.
He’s going to have to, whether he’s comfortable with it or not (and according to him he’s fine with playing closer to the basket again). Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng aren’t exactly interior threats. Both of them are very good shooters on their good days, which means Bosh won’t have the responsibility of knocking down big shots from the corner or somewhere else anymore. It’ll be up to him to make sure defenses don’t crowd the perimeter.
It’s going to be weird seeing the new version of the Heat after their very dominant run from 2010 to 2014, making four consecutive NBA finals, winning two of them. Small-ball will still be part of the program as Danny Granger will play some power forward from time to time and we might see some other creative ideas.
But it’s going to be a move back to basics for others. Wade as the player with the ball in his hands most of the time, if his knees allow him to be that ball-dominant, while Bosh, who has gotten used to the stretch 5 or 4 role while James was on the court, is going to be more of the star again, which the Heat are hoping he remembers how to be and is still capable of doing.